What is precautions while Topping off Cargo on ships?

The following guidance should be complied with:
  • When planning cargo operations, attention must be paid to allow sufficient time between topping off different tanks;
  • Topping off procedures must be agreed with the terminal or the transshipment vessel. The agreed notification time for slowing down and maximum topping off rate required by the ship must be recorded in writing in the checklist during the pre-loading meeting;
  • There should be sufficient personnel on deck at all times during topping off operations, with consideration for extra personnel being available if required;
  • The topping off sequence should be taken into account when planning the rigging of lines and hoses;
  • Simultaneous topping off of different parcels should be avoided. If necessary, the loading of one or more grades must be slowed down or stopped;
  • The duty officer should have full authority to stop or slow down the pumping rate if, for any reason, there is doubt concerning the safety of the operation. Loading should only resume at the planned loading rate when the duty officer is confident that the situation is under control;
  • A request from the ship to reduce the loading rate should be confirmed by all available means. If a failure to reduce the loading rate is noted, the duty officer should not hesitate to activate the shore emergency shutdown procedure (as agreed during the pre-loading conference) before a critical situation develops;
  • In the event of communication failure between the ship and the loading facility, or between essential ship’s staff, during or near the topping off operation, loading should be immediately stopped until such communication has been re-established and the manifold valve closed;
  • In the event of a problem with the remote cargo monitoring system, all operations should be stopped until the system is operational or manual monitoring procedures are established.
  • In this case the Master or designated responsible officer should be notified;
  • High level alarms should never be used for topping off purposes.
  • Topping off ullages must be calculated before the start of the loading operation and revised with more accuracy when final trim is known; and
  • If the overfill alarm is activated, loading of that tank should be immediately stopped.


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